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Some videogame content is exclusive to certain players

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Stratadrake on Aug 30th 2013 at 10:22:52 AM
Last Edited By:
AfroThunder on Oct 20th 2017 at 10:06:26 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

The practice of making certain content in a Video Game exclusive to particular versions or players, usually as a means to encourage connecting with other players (who have the other content). It is popularly paired with more than one (otherwise-identical) version of the game being published simultaneously.

The exclusive content is not mandatory for completing the base game, just for a player's 100% Completion.

Can overlap with an Updated Re-release (and its region-specific subtrope, Regional Bonus) since any rerelease can be expected to have exclusive features that were not in the original version(s).

See also Reformulated Game for when the actual underlying game is different between its versions.


(For sake of brevity, this list does not include content added solely by an Updated Re-release or PAL Bonus.)

Action Role-Playing Games

  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance has one exclusive character on each platform: The PS3 version gets Colossus (a heavy tank character) while the 360 version gets Moon Knight.

Fighting Games

  • Soul Calibur 2 has one exclusive Guest Fighter on each release platform: The Xbox version gets Spawn, the PS2 version gets Heihachi from Tekken, and the GameCube version gets Link. It is however not possible to connect and battle other players on different versions. Soul Calibur 4 has Darth Vader as a default character on the PS3 version, and Yoda on the Xbox 360. (The other exclusive character can be purchased as DLC.)
  • Super Smash Bros. 4 has the same roster of fighters between its console and portable versions, but some stages differ between the portable and platform versions, and each features different game modes as well (e.g. sidescrolling-beat-em-up-style Smash Run on the 3DS vs. board-game-style Smash Tour on the Wii U). The Wii U version also supports up to eight simultaneous fighters (instead of four) and features a Level Editor. It's not possible for the two versions to play together, but it is possible to use the 3DS version as a controller for playing the Wii U version, and transfer customized Mii Fighters between the two versions.
  • Ready 2 Rumble Boxing has one exclusive boxer depending on which console version you get: Jimmy Blood on the Dreamcast, Gino Stiletto on the Playstation and J. R. Flurry on the Nintendo 64.

Japanese Role-playing Games

  • The Pokémon series is the best-known example with version-exclusive content being a core design element of the franchise; each main series generation sees the release of two (otherwise-identical) games which feature minor differences in their in-game content, including:
    • Certain Pokemon species are exclusive (or at least more common) in one version, such as Scyther and Pinsir in Generation I, or Braviary and Mandibuzz in Generation V; the only way to acquire them in the opposite version is by trading with another player. This also extends to the updated "third versions" seen in many generations, where some wild Pokemon easily obtainable in the original pair are not encountered at all in the third; and to some of the series's spinoffs, such as the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series whose first two installments were released in a pair of versions.
    • Since Generation III, the game's central storyline is generally tweaked to focus on a specific legendary Pokemon (also depicted on the game's cover art) which the player will encounter at some point. It may or may not be possible for the player to encounter the legendary mascot of the other version in the same game (outside of an updated third version).
    • Generation V expanded the differences, with some areas receiving aesthetic tweaks between versions, and a few (Black City and White Forest) being entirely exclusive to one version or the other.
    • Generation V's online component, the Pokemon Dream World, also starts the player out with one type of damage-reducing Berry (out of seventeen) to start their berry farming with; the only way to acquire the other Berry types is by trading with other players.
    • Some time-limited distributions give the player a different Pokemon depending on which version of game they are playing.
    • Pokémon X and Y mixes up the formula in a few new ways: Not only are some Pokemon (like the Manectric and Houndoom families) version-exclusive, but some Mega Stones are too (e.g. Charizardite X and Y); in fact, some Mega Stones are exclusive to the opposite version that their matching species is normally found in. The concept is also inverted in Kiloude City's Friend Safari: Every player gets a unique Safari (associated with their system's Friend Code) with three Pokemon of a common type appearing in it, but a player can only access their friends' Safaris, not their own.
  • Downplayed, but still present, in The World Ends with You: One of the game's shops stocks exactly one of six "darklit planet" pins (otherwise available only as a Random Drop from specific opponents on the highest difficulty setting), but which one they offer depends on the player's game (or more specifically, the system ID of the player's DS); the others have to be acquired as random drops from specific bosses (or simply purchased from other players who have them).
  • Starting with the second game, Yo-kai Watch follows Pokémon's example by splitting yo-kai between games. You can trade with other players to get yo-kai. The third versions also include all of the yo-kai.

Platform Games

  • Skylanders:
    • In the console releases of Skylanders, one collectible Hat is specific to each platform (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) and can't be acquired in the others, but (because the hat is saved on the actual toy) any toy with that hat is allowed to wear it in any version.
    • The Wii U version of Skylanders SuperChargers features two exclusive characters along with their respective vehicles: Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and his Barrel Blaster (offered as part of the starter pack in place of Spitfire and his Hot Streak), and Hammer Slam Bowser and his Clown Crusier. The Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions, meanwhile, are developed by Beenox instead of Vicarious Visions, and are more ordinated to Wacky Racing. The starter packs for these versions offer Bowser and his vehicle in place of Spitfire and his vehicle.
  • In Super Meat Boy, the exclusive characters for the Xbox 360 version are Gish, Alien Hominid, Tim, Spelunky, Pink Knight, and Ninja. The PC version, meanwhile, features Goo Ball, Josef, Naija, Runman, Captain Viridian, and Steve. If you get the PC version from Steam, you unlock a Headcrab in place of the Goo Ball, although the Goo Ball can still be playable by typing "ballgoo" before selecting a character. Tim is also in the PC version, but you need to type "outtatime" before selecting a character if you want to play as him.

Racing Games

Western Role-playing Games

  • Dragon Age: Origins came with different exclusive DLC items for players who bought it from Amazon, GameStop, Steam, and a number of other retailers.

Feedback: 28 replies

Aug 30th 2013 at 11:54:23 AM

The Xbox 360 version of Sonic And Sega All-Stars Racing has Banjo and Kazooie from the Banjo Kazooie video game series.

Aug 30th 2013 at 12:06:52 PM

Do the other platforms have something exclusive to match?

Aug 30th 2013 at 12:08:28 PM

Aside from maybe the Miis on the Wii version, I can't seem to think of any others.

Aug 30th 2013 at 12:50:50 PM

Aug 30th 2013 at 1:31:57 PM

The European version of one of the Professor Layton games didn't include the London Life extra game. Presumably because every European knows what it's like to live in London.

Aug 30th 2013 at 4:34:17 PM

^ I didn't necessarily want to mention those yet, as the only difference there is location, location, location. I also didn't mention Updated Rerelease yet because it's specifically released after the original and so the developers obviously have time to put in additional content.

Aug 30th 2013 at 5:29:57 PM

Aug 30th 2013 at 9:35:45 PM

The next Super Smash Bros game has some characters and stages exclusive to each version of it (whether 3DS or Wii U).

Aug 30th 2013 at 9:42:40 PM

The console versions of Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed also have exclusive characters: the 360 port lets players race as their Avatar, while the Wii U and 3DS ports let players race as their Mii. Metal Sonic is only available as DLC, but he's included for free with some early copies.

Sep 4th 2013 at 10:50:17 AM

The Steam version of S&ASRT also has Willemus from Rome Total War. From the same line, "a Russian General" should be "General Winter".

A few new ones:

  • Mortal Kombat, when released on the Super Nintendo, lacked all the blood and most of the fatalities, due to Nintendo's very strict content policies. Meanwhile, the Sega Genesis version retained all of that content (although hidden behind a code), making it one of the console's killer apps. The backlash was strong enough that it convinced Nintendo to lighten up on the policies that caused the situation in the first place. As such, starting with Mortal Kombat II, all Mortal Kombat games on the SNES were uncut.
  • Mega Man:
    • The Saturn version of Mega Man 8 has two additional throwback bosses (Cut Man from Mega Man and Wood Man from Mega Man 2), a sound test mode and an art gallery of submitted Robot Master designs, all which do not exist in the Play Station version. (Rumor has it this was a bone thrown to the 2D-friendly policies of Sega; some of the higher-ups at Sony almost refused to allow Mega Man 8 to be published, until Capcom threatened to hold back on a Resident Evil game in retaliation, forcing the Sony execs to stand down.)
    • Similarly, Mega Man X 4 on the Saturn has warping backgrounds and properly looping music that the PlayStation version does not. All other versions of the game are based on the PlayStation version, and as such do not have these minor upgrades.
    • Mega Man X 3 on the PlayStation and Saturn have a remixed soundtrack and all-new anime FMVs, both for the intro and for when a stage is selected. These carried over into Mega Man X Collection for the Play Station 2 and Nintendo Game Cube.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
    • Sonic 3 D Blast on the Saturn greatly improved the graphics of the Genesis original, adding in weather effects like fog, rain and snow, completely revamping the special stages to a set using fully 3D polygonal graphics, and having an all new soundtrack composed by Richard Jacques. The PC version kept the graphical upgrade (sans the fog effect) and new soundtrack, but had its own set of special stages sitting somewhere in between the sprite-based Genesis version and the polygonal Saturn version.
    • Sonic R on the PC is significantly expanded on the Saturn original; while the original game had each stage take place at a specific time of day, the PC version cycles through day, sunset, night and sunrise for all stages, in addition to various weather effects such as rain or snow (the latter of which freezes over all water surfaces, letting players run over them without sinking). The only exception to that is the Astral Finale stage Radiant Emerald, which has its own change; in the Saturn version, the stage was entirely transparent - an effect notoriously difficult to do on the console. Since transparencies were comparatively easy to do on the PC and thus not as impressive, the stage was turned into an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield, with every inch of the stage constantly changing hue.
    • Sonic Jam, despite being ports of the first three mainline Genesis Sonic games, added in difficulty settings that altered the stage layouts accordingly (with the original game layouts being the hardest), as well as a time attack mode for both stages and special stages (although the time attacks were based on the "Normal" difficulty and not the "Original" one). It even added in Sonic's iconic Spin Dash move to the first game, which had previously lacked it entirely.
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape for the Sega Dreamcast added in multiplayer modes unavailable in the other versions of the game. The later PlayStation 2 release Rayman Revolution added in entirely new segments to the stages, an overworld for all of the stages (as opposed to the original's Point And Click Map), and real-world language dubs (as opposed to the original's "Raymanian").
  • Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 for the PC featured the Doom guy as a playable character.

I'm pretty sure some of these are actually Updated Rerelease, but most of them came out around the same time as the other versions, so it's hard to say.

Sep 4th 2013 at 1:37:29 PM

  • The overseas version of Tatsunoko Vs Capcom (TVC Ultimate All Stars) added Hakushon Daimao, Frank West and Zero to the playable roster. Though they also removed the original anime endings of each character and replaced it with still images.

Sep 4th 2013 at 8:35:28 PM

^ That sounds like PAL Bonus. It's still technically an example, but it fits better there.

Sep 19th 2013 at 5:56:09 PM

Time for a bump. No new examples coming to my mind at this time....

Sep 20th 2013 at 3:51:20 AM

I dunno, "Version" for a word is too broad for me. See, I confused it with Pal Bonus and someone does with Updated Rerelease. :/

Dec 21st 2013 at 12:39:37 PM

Bumping this (now that Na No Wri Mo is over) for examples, description help, and title discussion. I'd like to get it launched some time.

Dec 22nd 2013 at 6:22:10 AM

I tried to think of a title for this that would be both witty and apt, and all I could think of was Version Of A Different Color. It's a good pun, and though its meaning isn't quite obvious, at least it applies literally to the Trope Maker.

Nov 8th 2014 at 6:50:24 AM

Does this count?

  • In the older version of Plants Vs Zombies, the Dancing Zombie is a walking Michael Jackson homage. In the Game of the Year version, he's changed into a Disco Dan. The reasoning is that, well, the King of Pop was dead in-between, making the homage a bit too close.

Nov 8th 2014 at 12:02:26 PM

Expanding upon the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U example, some gameplay modes that are present in the Wii U version, such as Coin Battles, Event Matches, and Special Smash, are not present in the 3DS version, and both versions present the Classic and All-Star modes differently — in the 3DS version, Classic Mode takes place on a path between stages that branches into three, color-coded by difficulty, while in the Wii U version, it takes place in a battle coliseum where you take on your choice of clusters of fighters and compete against your rival. The All-Star Mode experience in both versions is identical, except for the fact that in the 3DS version, the oldest characters are fought first, while the Wii U version prioritizes the newest characters instead.

Jun 30th 2015 at 9:05:25 AM

  • The Wii U version of Skylanders SuperChargers features two exclusive characters along with their respective vehicles: Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and his Barrel Blaster (offered as part of the starter pack in place of Spitfire and his Hot Streak), and Hammer Slam Bowser and his Clown Crusier. The Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions, meanwhile, are developed by Beenox instead of Vicarious Visions, and are more ordinated to Wacky Racing. The starter packs for these versions offer Bowser and his vehicle in place of Spitfire and his vehicle.

Jun 30th 2015 at 11:33:17 AM

Would DLC content exclusive to versions bought from specific retailers count? For instance:

  • Dragon Age Origins came with different exclusive DLC items for players who bought it from Amazon, GameStop, Steam, and a number of other retailers.

Jul 13th 2015 at 4:23:33 PM

Does it also count for the same game having different content on different systems? Such as how Resident Evil 4 had extra missions, weapons, and outfits from the Playstation 2 version and beyond?

Jun 25th 2016 at 6:41:14 PM

  • Starting with the second games, the youkai available in Yokai Watch depends on your version. Trading is possible between the versions.

Jan 31st 2017 at 11:58:46 AM

I was looking for the trope and found this, because I wanted to add this example to the game's respective page:

  • Ready 2 Rumble Boxing has one exclusive boxer depending on which console version you get: Jimmy Blood on the Dreamcast, Gino Stiletto on the Playstation and J. R. Flurry on the Nintendo 64.

Feb 1st 2017 at 9:40:23 AM

  • In the Animal Crossing games there are 5 different fruits you can grow on trees (apple, pear, cherry, peach and orange), but each village only haves one native species of fruit. Players can get the other fruits either by getting them from other villages, but sometimes villagers can give you any fruit that is not your village's default one as a reward for an errand.

  • The Nintendo Switch release of Mario Kart 8, known as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, not only includes all the DLC from the Wii U version by default, but it also adds 5 additional characters (King Boo, Dry Bones, Bowser Jr., Boy Inkling and Girl Inkling: also, Male Villager and Female Villager are now two individual characters), two additional items (Feather and Boo) and brings back proper Battle Mode arenas instead of using racing tracks.

Jun 13th 2017 at 11:07:23 AM

  • Yokai Watch follows Pokemon's example by splitting yo-kai between games. The third versions include all of the yo-kai.

Jun 13th 2017 at 2:33:15 PM

  • Mega Man Battle Network: from the third game onward, they play with One Game For The Price Of Two, and as such they have a few of this in between their versions. It's usually confined to the Net Navi that Mega Man can interact/fight with, which would be different in different versions.

Jun 13th 2017 at 3:51:30 PM

^Now you said it... I got another Mega Man examples to add: